You Know, For Kids: Five Weird Things About Toy Story 3By brian longtin • Mar 10th, 2011 • Category: watching • Popularity: 19%
Toy Story 3 is typical Pixar greatness. But a few odd details stand out to the adult viewer.
No one needs to be told that Toy Story 3 was a great movie, and I am admittedly late to the party here. As we’ve come to expect, Pixar does more of their consistently amazing work, and in a rare feat, makes a third film in a series that meets or surpasses its predecessors. It deals with mature emotions and isn’t afraid to get a little dark and scary at parts, yet it’s a joy to watch beginning to end. They even reference classics like Cool Hand Luke, The Great Escape and Return of the Jedi. No one should not like this movie.
Still, while thoroughly enjoying Toy Story 3, I couldn’t help but notice a few quirks to what is ostensibly a kids’ movie. Little details that certainly don’t ruin it, but gave me just enough pause to the point where I couldn’t help sharing — and in enough places I couldn’t fit them all into quick bursts on Twitter.
Since basically everyone’s already seen this movie, maybe someone else noticed these and can tell me whether or not I’m crazy.
1. The voice of the movie’s villain, Lotso Huggin’ Bear, is the same man who played the ‘pig’ in the movie Deliverance. Not to brand a guy for life or anything, but you have to admit there’s something funny about that.
2. The toddlers in the ‘Catepillar Room’ were portrayed as terrible, torturous, unbearable things, in a movie aimed largely at kids in that very age range. The toys would rather risk death than be stuck in a lifetime of service to a room full of small children! Not to mention that the human baby doll was a terrifying, head-spinning Frankenstein. Okay, I take it back: this point is actually kind of great.
**In fairness though, contrast those points with how great the little girl Bonnie was. Her outfit in that last scene, with the yellow galoshes and pink tutu? Oh man, so adorable.
3. I won’t pretend I didn’t laugh too, and Michael Keaton was great in the part, but seeing the toys making faces at each other over Ken’s more flamboyant habits felt like a tiny bit of homophobia, did it not? I mean, Pixar’s a progressive Bay Area company, they did that great ‘It Gets Better‘ video, and right, he’s in love with Barbie. But how does this movie want me to feel about his prancing and glittery handwriting? The grimaces and raised eyebrows by the straight male toys bordered on making me uncomfortable about laughing at the Ken jokes, is all I’m saying.
4. Aside from the whole heading toward ovens thing — which, let’s not even go there — was there also a whiff of old southern plantation racism/anti-immigrant vibe to that bear too? He puts up a front of folksy hospitality with the cane and the hugs, but then makes the new (non-native) people do the shit jobs and sleep in cages while he and his fat cat buddies live the good life? I may be reaching with this one but I guess I just really hated that bear.
5. No joke, here’s one that really bothered me: so Mr Potato Head’s pieces, when attached to a tortilla, retain his ability to move freely. Also, his arm can crawl around all on its own in order to retrieve said tortilla. Essentially, they are ‘him’ without his body. Mrs Potato Head’s mouth, however, when removed from her face by that jerk bear, stops her from talking; yet she can still see out of her eye that’s lost back at the house (ignoring for now the fact that actual Potato Head eyes only came in attached pairs; we’ll chalk that up to artistic license). The question, though, is what exactly makes the Potato Heads themselves? I’m not a religious person, but if their body is just an empty shell, where exactly does their ’soul’ reside among their discrete physical components? Is a statement being made here that we are only vessels, and it’s our senses of sight, touch, sound, etc. that give us life and self? I doubt the makers gave this level of thought to the existential puzzle posed by the Potato Head family’s conveniently peculiar form of sentience, but I have to say it distracted me through most of that sequence. Also, it was kinda gross how we was all flopping around on that windowsill. I did like when he punched that pigeon though.